Thinking of switching from nurse to elementary teacher. Bad idea?

Updated | Posted
by Skips Skips, MSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in L&D.

This is really tough for me to swallow, but I'm not loving nursing as a career.

I graduated from my BSN program almost a year ago. I was at the top of my class. I worked very hard for 4 years to get this degree. So why am I not loving nursing?

Since before college, I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. When I realized how much in student loans I would be taking out vs the amount of pay I would be receiving, I backed out and went for nursing instead. I felt like nursing would be a better investment financially. (I know, that's probably a bad reason to go into nursing). I do like people and I love children! I work with kids every day, and my job is very comfortable and stress-free. I work at a clinic currently.

Is it a bad idea to go to school? Should I try to get a school nursing job and forgo another degree? I feel like I shouldn't give up just yet, but I really want to go back to school and get my degree in elementary education. There is an adult weekend/online/evening option at a local university.

Thoughts?

RN403, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,068 Posts

Only you know what's best for you. As you said, you can always try to get a job as a school nurse in an elementary school and see if you like it better. Since you already work with children in a clinic that would be great background experience.

What specifically are you not loving about nursing? There are many paths you can take in regard to being a nurse. Maybe you just haven't found your niche yet. Explore other options within the nursing field and if you still are unsatisfied maybe your initial goal of being a teacher is the better option for you.

Best wishes.

Purple_roses

Purple_roses

1,763 Posts

Well, since you do already have the RN license, you may as well try to get a job as a school nurse to see if you'll be satisfied with that. Give it time, and if you'd still like to be an elementary teacher, then go for it.

If you'd like a teaching experience and isn't set on teaching children, you could get your masters and become a nurse educator.

Edited by Purple_roses

enuf_already

enuf_already

789 Posts

Consider signing up with your local school board to be a sub. See if you even like the environment before you fork out the money to go back to school.

I have many teacher friends and teaching, much like nursing, has changed over the years. Many districts have pay freezes, want all teachers to have master's degrees (but not get paid for the educational difference), and don't allow teachers any creativity while teaching. They are all required to teach to the state testing.

I once considered teaching and investigated it thoroughly as a career change from nursing. I witnessed first hand, for years, what actually happens in classrooms (as a private duty nurse). Ultimately, I am happy I chose to stay in nursing.

Skips, MSN, RN

Specializes in L&D. 502 Posts

I'm not quite sure what I dislike about nursing. My first job (yes, I've had TWO jobs in under a year!) was in a hospital, and I absolutely dreaded going to work and hated it. I knew I didn't want to work in a hospital during nursing school, but I thought that's what I was supposed to do. My "dream" job was in labor & delivery. However, I tried that as my preceptorship during nursing school and I didn't like it. I was crushed by that realization that I just did not enjoy it and I did not feel like my talents were in that field. Now I work in a clinic. While it does suit my personality much better, I still don't feel fulfilled and I feel absolutely lost. I don't want to keep job hopping to find my nursing niche. I feel a little badly about it, but I really am wanting to stay at this clinic job for at least a year before I try anything else.

I'm proud of being a nurse. I feel like it was an accomplishment, but I find myself not fulfilled by my job. Does that make sense?

FloridaBeagle

FloridaBeagle

Specializes in Peds, Neuro, Orthopedics. Has 3 years experience. 217 Posts

I did the exact opposite, I was a kindergarten teacher and decided I'd had enough with the low pay and long hours and left for nursing school. You need to be a sub first. You need to realize you will be a teacher in a hellhole of a school for at least 5 years before you can transfer anywhere good (unless you have connections from the get-go, so subbing is the way to make those connections!) Charter schools are breaking teacher's unions, so wages are going nowhere and tenure is legally disappearing in some states (it was recently outlawed in FL).

Of course, this is assuming you get a job at all. Many places are saturated with teachers. I always laugh when new grad nurses complain of not getting jobs, they don't have a clue! I know teachers who spent 3-5 YEARS working as a sub before they were hired as teachers. Subs get no benefits, no guaranteed hours, and horrible pay.

I loved teaching itself, but it is a horrible career. I'm not thrilled with my nursing career, but 3 days a week 36 hours (plus diff and overtime) beats 5 days a week, 55 hours (no overtime, no Christmas bonus, no nothing).

Skips, MSN, RN

Specializes in L&D. 502 Posts

Beagle62 said:
I did the exact opposite, I was a kindergarten teacher and decided I'd had enough with the low pay and long hours and left for nursing school. You need to be a sub first. You need to realize you will be a teacher in a hellhole of a school for at least 5 years before you can transfer anywhere good (unless you have connections from the get-go, so subbing is the way to make those connections!) Charter schools are breaking teacher's unions, so wages are going nowhere and tenure is legally disappearing in some states (it was recently outlawed in FL).

Of course, this is assuming you get a job at all. Many places are saturated with teachers. I always laugh when new grad nurses complain of not getting jobs, they don't have a clue! I know teachers who spent 3-5 YEARS working as a sub before they were hired as teachers. Subs get no benefits, no guaranteed hours, and horrible pay.

I loved teaching itself, but it is a horrible career. I'm not thrilled with my nursing career, but 3 days a week 36 hours (plus diff and overtime) beats 5 days a week, 55 hours (no overtime, no Christmas bonus, no nothing).

That sounds like a nightmare.

I'm hesitant to leave nursing for the reasons you described with teaching.

Thanks for your feedback!

amoLucia

amoLucia

Specializes in retired LTC. 7,735 Posts

Another issue to consider is that many teachers go on to continue graduate education. For many, it's a 'given' expectation for job marketability and job SECURITY.

And your current nursing education will need to be bolstered by education courses.

Just 2 things to consider. But if your heart is really not in nursing, then do what you have to in order to get what you want.

Good luck.

~Shrek~

~Shrek~

331 Posts

I kind of job hopped too, and I am not happy with my life in nursing so far. I am taking the steps for a new career in addition to applying to jobs that are not abusive to their employees or patients. Only you know what the best thing is for you. Do research and I agree with working as a substitute teacher for a while and see what you can do to make your goals a reality. I had a few teachers who were ex nurses when I was in middle and high school.

Skips, MSN, RN

Specializes in L&D. 502 Posts

Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful advice. I really do appreciate it.

I think I'll apply to a graduate initial licensure degree for K-6 within the next 6 months and take a class or two at a time and see how I like it. I enjoy classes and learning, so I wouldn't mind doing that and working full-time at the clinic, since the classes are night/online/weekend. We shall see how it goes.

3**835Y

3**835Y

38 Posts

I've worked as a nurse in schools here in Texas before........If a teacher works in a "title 1" school for a couple of years the state will forgive $15,000. Then.......you pay the minimum on your Fed Loans for 10 yrs and all is forgiven after that. So here's a scenario.....If you take out $50,000 in Fed Loans to be a teacher - $15,000 = $35,000.........If you only make $40,000/yr as a teacher starting out the federal loans will probably only make you pay somewhere around $200 or less/month for 10yr = $24,000 (maybe a lot less depending on your dependents) Not bad.....for a career you enjoy......and Title 1 schools are not that bad here in Texas.

3**835Y

3**835Y

38 Posts

Plus.........You can work 8 months as a teacher and 4 months as a nurse. Life is short. Don't think about it so much and follow your heart. In the end what you are worried about now will not matter to you then.